The federal judiciary and the battle to interpret the Constitution: “Some basic plumbing lessons”…

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Q: How many federal judges does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: One. They hold it and the universe revolves around them.

Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX)—a former state district judge for the 7th Judicial District and Chief Justice the Texas 12th Court of Appeals—repeated that joke at a recent “Conversations with Conservatives” event sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and reported by Gohmert was making the point about how liberal federal judges are ruling against state-made prohibitions banning so-called “homosexual marriage” In Gohmert’s view:

…it’s up to the states to define, according to the Supreme Court. So for one omnipotent, omnicious, ubiquitous federal judge, who is wise beyond his education, to say, to make such a declaration about the law, I think requires revisiting by each state and compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court.

This cannot continue like one of the 9th Circuit judges reportedly said, that, “Well, we know we’re not doing in accordance with Supreme Court precedent, but they can’t reverse all of our [decisions] so we’ll keep cranking them out.”

We gotta’ get back to real law and order and that includes by judges not becoming God in their place….That stuff’s gotta’ stop. We’ve got to get the law back in the hands of the state where it was originally intended in a federalist republic.

What’s got Representative Gohmert irked is that liberal federal judges are ruling against state laws that ban “homosexual marriage,” based upon the assertion that there is no biological evidence to support the idea of marriage between a man and a woman. These judges, Gohmert argues, “need some basic plumbing lessons.”

Liberals pillory conservatives like Gohmert for their commonsense assertions and portray conservatives as rubes or knuckle-dragging Neanderthals because they just aren’t “with it” and don’t possess any “withitness.” But, Gohmert’s commonsense observation is rooted in Natural Law theory which, it should not be overlooked, provides the philosophical foundation for much of what’s written in the Declaration of Independence and is enshrined in the Constitution.

What liberals have been attempting to do for decades by “packing the courts”—and is so patently obvious in everything that led up to the Roe v. Wade decision—is not to “rewrite” the nation’s founding documents, as some conservatives have argued. No, liberals have been attempting to substitute Utilitarianism for Natural Law theory. That is why they must direct their vitriol, in particular, at Justices Scalia and Thomas, both of whom understand what’s involved in this attempt to change the philosophical underpinning of the nation’s founding documents.

Unfortunately, many voters don’t “get it” or their eyes “glaze over” when it comes to appreciating the very important role the third branch of the federal government plays in protecting their natural rights.

And liberals are just as happy as a bed of clams that voters react in these ways.



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  1. “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” — Abraham Lincoln, R-Ill.

    ” . . . based upon the assertion that there is no biological evidence to support the idea of marriage between a man and a woman.”

    Why do we live like this? The ignorance and the stupidity . . .

    For those not yet absorbed into the lie-borg: biological entities have imperatives such as: avoid being eaten, breathe, eat, drink, sleep, and procreate. If biological units don’t have the drive to procreate, the species self-extincts itself (I added that second “itself” for my lie-borg friends).

    As it is forbidden to quote Scripture or Church Teachings, I fall upon Aristotle and Plato for pagan advice.

    The gay gestapo requires that the state redefine marriage to include passive/sterile/unnatural buggery, which Plato (see Gorgias) termed “ridiculous, loathsome, disgraceful, shameful, and wretched.”

    Gassy gays want the state to force the rest of us to believe that such shameful perversion is equal to fecund, sacramental marriage, i.e., that which sodomy can never be: marriage’s moral and legal equivalent.

    Elsewhere, Plato provides additonal condemnations. (See Laws 636c) Plato, speaking through the character of the Athenian stranger, rejects homosexual behavior as “unnatural” (para physin), describes it as an “enormity” or “crime” (tolmema), and explains that it derives from being enslaved to pleasure.

    Here are comments from Aristotle. “Others arise as a result of disease [νόσους] (or, in some cases, of madness, as with the man who sacrificed and ate his mother, or with the slave who ate the liver of his fellow), and others are morbid states resulting from custom, e.g. the habit of plucking out the hair or of gnawing the nails, or even coals or earth, and in addition to these sex with men [ἀφροδισίων τοῖς ἄρρεσιν]; for these arise in some by nature and in others, as in those who have been the victims of lust from childhood, from habit.” [Nicomachean Ethics Book 7:5] [Arist Eth Nic 1148b 27-30]

    His equation of sodomy with nail-biting or eating coal was made to communicate that which they have in common: essential futility. Likely, Aristotle meant the weird comparisons to highlight his conclusion.

    There are no rationales for sin only causes.

  2. I thought TACs readership might find of interest an article from 1998 by the late Fr. Francis Canavan, S.J., entitled “The Eminent Tribunal” which traces the U.S. Supreme Court’s discovery and development of “substantive due process” and the manner in which it caused an expansion and redefinition of the judiciary’s role.
    “The Eminent Tribunal” was originally published by “First Things” in 1998.

  3. The judge takes an oath to deliver the Virtue of Justice, equal Justice for all persons. Equal Justice is not equality but Justice that must be the truth and nothing but the truth, or it is a miscarriage of Justice. The Virtue of Justice, Justice is a virtue, is giving to all persons what they truly deserve, not always what they want, but what they truly deserve. Equality leveled at all persons might be injustice for all or most. Only the Virtue of equal Justice can and maybe obtained in a court of law…because the Court is not our Creator, God is. NOR can the Court live our lives for us. Every person must live his own life and every person must strive to deliver equal Justice for himself and all other persons.

  4. T Shaw

    An excellent post.

    it is axiomatic that acts of the understanding are specified by their object and good and bad choices are no more equivalent than apprehension and misapprehension, truth and error are equivalent species of an identical genus; rather, bad choices are paralogisms (παραλογισμός = Unreasonable or fallacious).

    The good choice, “This – being such – is to be done,” is intelligible, because intelligent; the act of the bad will is a surd, ultimately unintelligible. True enough, we can often trace its causes to instinctive or dispositional factors, but it remains logically incoherent.

    That is why Aristotle says in the Third Book of EN, “All wicked men are ignorant of what they ought to do, and what they ought to avoid; and it is this very ignorance which makes them wicked and vicious. Accordingly, a man cannot be said to act involuntarily merely because he is ignorant of what it is proper for him to do in order to fulfil his duty. This ignorance in the choice of good and evil does not make the action involuntary; it only makes it vicious. The same thing may be affirmed of the man who is ignorant generally of the rules of his duty; such ignorance is worthy of blame, not of excuse.”

  5. Mary De Voe

    Your definition of justice closely follows that given in the first sentence of Justinian’s Institutes, “Iustitia est constans et perpetua voluntas ius suum cuique tribunes” Inst Lib1.1 – Justice is a constant and perpetual intention to render to each his own.

    As to its “constant and perpetual” character, the SCOTUS has never distinguished itself by a scrupulous adherence to precedent. Indeed, in Jones v Opelika [319 US 584 (1942)] one finds Roberts J complaining that, in some six years, the court had fourteen times reversed one or more of its earlier decisions, many of them recent. He observed that such decisions tended “to bring adjudications of this tribunal into the same class as a restricted railroad ticket, good for this day and train only. I have no assurance, in view of current decisions, that the opinion announced today may not shortly be repudiated and overruled by justices who deem they have new light on the subject.”

    As one particularly egregious example, a constitutional case, Minersville School District v Gobitis [310 US 586 (1940)] that was decided by a majority of eight to one, was overruled three years later in West Virginia School Board of Education v Barnette [319 US 624 (1943)] by a majority of six to three. Of the six, three of the Justices (Black, Douglas & Murphy JJ) had changed their minds, two (Jackson & Ritledge JJ) were new appointments and one was the former lone dissident (Stone CJ, formerly Stone J)

    Surely, the highest court having once decided what the law is, it should be for the legislator to say what it ought to be.

  6. Michael Paterson-Seymour: “Surely, the highest court having once decided what the law is, it should be for the legislator to say what it ought to be.”
    I am so happy that you, Michael, associate the law as coming down through the Court to the state’s sovereignty, then to each individual person’s sovereignty. The Virtue of Justice does not allow vice, nor the violation of natural law. The judges of the Court must acknowledge that they are the personification of God’s perfect Virtue of Justice.
    Interpret the Constitution? I would be happy if the Court read the Constitution.

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